The North and South of It – Vero to PA, NY, and CT and Back Again

Back to our return from the Bahamas and the next phase of our travels.  I have some catching up to do on this blog.

We left Fort Pierce on Sunday, March 6th, heading north on the ICW to Vero Beach. Ahhh, the ICW……  What can I say?? This is not the beautiful clear blue water of the  Bahamas. We admit we have been spoiled and we miss the Bahamian blues.  Sooooo much.

Stunned by the dark icky water entering the ICW from a river to the west. We had heard that water from Lake Okeechobee was released in the past month, but weren't sure if this was part of it. Yuck.

Stunned by the swath of dark icky water entering the ICW from the Belcher Canal just north of the Fort Pierce Inlet. We had heard that water from Lake Okeechobee was released due to a high level after excessive rains,  but I’m not sure if the release extended its dark sludgy water into tributaries and other waters.  Yuck.

First bridge test – yes or no?? A very close yes……….

Just north of Fort Pierce, we face our first bridge test – yes or no?? A very close yes……….

Compass heading of 000 degrees. Is that "due north" or is 360 degrees? Are they same position? I have never wondered about it until I saw 000 on the autopilot compass.

Compass heading of 000 degrees. Is that “due north” or is 360 degrees? Are they the same position? I have never wondered about it until I saw 000 on the autopilot compass.

Vero Beach is one of the best places for a cruiser to stop and regroup. As many of us know, some cruisers stop here, regroup, and get stuck, hence the nickname “Velcro Beach.” Some are held fast for just the winter, and some return forever.  We know of boats that have waited so long for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream, that they just never left, especially this year; it was a tough one for crossings. The cruisers who return to Vero and put roots down into the dirt are called “CLODS” = Cruisers Living On Dirt.  They have formed their own informal club, meeting for breakfast once each week and hosting a potluck Thanksgiving dinner for cruisers.  On this visit I learned that Vero has another name in addition to “Velcro Beach” –  “Zero Beach”. Evidently because there is nothing to do for younger people. I guess it all depends on your perspective. Some folks love it, some don’t. Same as every book, movie, or restaurant review that I’ve ever read. Although Vero Beach is a favorite stop for us, we won’t ever become velcro’d. Not this girl. After 30 years in CT, I’m a New Englander.

We made it to Vero Beach . Time to do boat chores, laundry, inventory provisions and restock for the northward journey.

We made it to Vero Beach . Time to do boat chores, laundry, inventory provisions and restock for the northward journey.

Why is the Vero Beach City Marina such a popular place for cruisers to stop on their way south and on the way north?

  • Inexpensive moorings (They get less expensive per night the longer you stay – part of the velcro?)
  • Only a few blocks from the beach (Even better is a short dinghy ride to tiny spot to tie our dinghy and walk across the street to the park and beach access.)
  • The GoLine bus transportation – FREE (Every cruiser loves and needs transportation  for provisioning and shopping, and free is the best!)
  • Easy car rental (usually easy until this time)
  • Free internet (Better than the Bahamas, but not quite up to land life’s speed, even with the wirie booster.)
  • Decent laundry and showers (Another cruising must have.)
  • Enough places to explore during a visit, with ice cream and restaurants.
  • Lots of other boaters to meet.

During our Gulf Stream crossing, we made a bet with each other. “Will there be any boats that we know at Vero when we arrive?” Al said no and I said yes. Those were very arbitrary calls, because neither of us felt strongly one way or the other – we were just bored at that point of the crossing. Upon arrival in Vero Beach, it appeared that Al won the bet. I’m a good loser, but the next day, I became the winner. While waiting in line for the GoLine bus, my eyes looked up and recognized Joan and Whit, another Shennecossett Yacht Club couple!! They had reached Vero on their Irwin, Sweet Liberty, in January, but the weather kept them velcro’d to Vero. That’s ok, there are many far worse places to be stuck.

Whit Joan, and Gracie dinghy over for a happy hour on Kindred Spirit. Lots of catching up to do!

Whit Joan, and Gracie dinghy over for a happy hour on Kindred Spirit. Lots of catching up to do!

Lots of crew teams practice right there in the river, passing the by our moorings.

Crew teams practice right there in the river, passing by our moorings.

Al spied this little boat, not part of the crew teams. Just styrofoam and some "P100" paper

Al spied this little boat, not part of the crew teams. Just styrofoam and some “P100” paper

Al had not had a haircut in 4 months. Check this off the to-do list. His reward - ice cream at Kiln's, something else he did not have enough of for 4 months.

Al had not had a haircut in 4 months. Check this off the to-do list. His reward – ice cream at Kilwin’s, something else he did not have enough of for 4 months.

Playing at Humiston Park in Vero Beach -- Who says you can’t be a swinger at Vero Beach?

Playing at Humiston Park in Vero Beach — Who says you can’t be a swinger at Vero Beach?

The most important thing we have done while in Vero is to leave. Leave the boat and fly home for a visit to see family. It was a 4-states in 8 days whirlwind trip. I just knew I couldn’t wait 6-8 more weeks to see our family. We flew into Philadelphia (on Frontier – never again. That would be a story for a different type of blog.) Rented a car to visit my parents and sisters. From there we drove to Queens, NY to spend the day with Ryan, Kerri and Caleb. Headed north to Connecticut to our house to wade through 4 months of accumulated mail, my oncology check-up, and a professional hair cut for me. Visited Adam & Steph in Avon, and then drove back to Pennsylvania to see my parents and visit with Alicia, Shawn, Aaron and Ella. After our return from the north, we rented a car and drove across Florida to visit with Al’s mother.

Below are just a few memories of our time with family and friends during the 8 days. I didn’t even take my camera and have only a few photos from my iPhone –Too busy talking and hugging.

Caleb is really likes wearing sunglasses (an unusual 22 month old!) and liked the new ones we brought. He loves reading books, too.

Forest Hills, NY – Caleb  really likes wearing sunglasses (an unusual 22 month old!) and liked the new ones we brought. Papa reads a books to him.

Out to a restaurant in NYC, looking like a New York artist or writer. And then looking just like a toddler who does not want o say goodby.

Out to a restaurant in NYC, looking like a New York artist or writer. And then looking just like a toddler who does not want to say goodby, with Daddy and Mommy.

Connecticut - Our wonderful neighbors, Marge and Jim cooked dinner for us and even had an early birthday celebration for Al.

Connecticut – Our wonderful neighbors, Marge and Jim, cooked dinner for us and even had an early birthday celebration for Al.

Land life! What are you going to do?? I drove AL's truck to my hair appointment only to have it refuse to start afterwards. Something to do with the ignition (245,000 miles on the old thing). Al couldn't get it started and AAA couldn't get it started, so I didn't feel incompetent. ;-) That's the tow truck bringing it back to the house. It will have to wait until we return in May.

Land life! What are you going to do?? I drove Al’s truck to my hair appointment only to have it refuse to start afterwards. Something to do with the ignition (245,000 miles). Al couldn’t get it started and AAA couldn’t get it started, so I didn’t feel incompetent. 😉 That’s the tow truck picking it up and bringing it back to the house. It will have to wait until we return in May.

Between appointments, we had lunch at Cafe 56 in Middletown with Mary Jo and Dean. So nice that they came up there to spend time with us during our short visit. Thanks!!

Between appointments, we had lunch at Cafe 56 in Middletown with Mary Jo and Dean. So nice that they came up there to spend time with us during our short visit. Thanks!!

Off to visit Adam and Steph. We toured their new "hometown" of Avon and Collinsville, spending a little time at a beautiful reservoir. Can you see how cold we were????? What you can't see is that Steph and Adam are expecting a little girl in June! Yeah -another grandchild!

Off to visit Adam and Steph. We toured their new “hometown” of Avon and Collinsville, spending a little time at a beautiful reservoir. Can you see how cold we were????? What you can’t see is that Steph and Adam are expecting a little girl in June! Yeah -another grandchild!

Back to Pennsylvania to visit my parents again. Fortunately, Alicia, Shawn, Aaron and Ella were able to drive up from Delaware to spend the afternoon with us. Check out those two little swimmers - Love their swim caps! Aaron and Papa conferring over a drawing at the dinner table. Alicia and Ella at the dining room table.

Back to Pennsylvania to visit my parents again. Fortunately, Alicia, Shawn, Aaron and Ella were able to drive up from Delaware to spend the afternoon with us.
Check out those two little swimmers – Love their swim caps! They are both fish in the water.
Aaron and Papa conferring over a drawing at the dinner table.  Alicia and Ella at the dining room table.

We left very early on Monday morning to get to the Phila airport intake for our flight. That's Al scraping ice off the windshield of the rental car. Brrrrrr

We left very early on Monday morning to get to the Phila airport in time for our flight. That’s Al scraping ice off the windshield of the rental car. Brrrrrr

After covering the miles by plane, by rental car, by shuttle bus, and finally an Uber ride, we arrived back at Vero Beach City Marina.While we were away, Cutting Class crossed back from the Bahamas and joined us on our mooring here.

together again

Kindred Spirit and Cutting Class, together again. We are missing san cles for our usual triple raft of Shennecossett Yacht Club boats  in Vero.

Whit and Joan left on Sweet Liberty - one less SYC boat here. :-(

Whit and Joan left on Sweet Liberty – one less SYC boat here. 🙁

The remainder of our time in Vero was a blitz of provisioning and chores in preparation for the trek northward. Trips to Home Depot, Walmart, West Marine, and Publix were made easier with a rental car. Systems were checked, levels of water and fuel inspected, and lots of laundry was washed, dried and folded and provisions wee tucked away. Instead of cleaning salt off of the fiberglass we discovered that we were wiping up pollen dust.

Our final day in Vero Beach was both Easter Sunday and Al’s birthday. Although the sky was mostly overcast, it was warm and humid enough to venture one more time to the beach, by dinghy. It wasn’t the nicest day, but it wasn’t the worst either. Dan and I both went for a swim in the water.

  • Temperature = very nice, didn’t even flinch.
  • Clarity = sand swirling in the surf and nothing like the Bahamas. Not even close.
  • Waves = a little too rough for me, waves came from different directions with a strong undertow.
  • Conclusion = Worth doing for 20 minutes! Especially since it will be the last swim for awhile, for me. (Not Dan!)
A day of "firsts" - Easter Day on the Beach and AL spent his birthday on the beach. Thanks for the photos, Marcia (I forgot my camera!)

A day of “firsts” – Easter Day on the Beach and AL spent his birthday on the beach. Thanks for the photos, Marcia (I forgot my camera!)

We were very happy to celebrate the double specialness of the day with Marcia and Dan on Cutting Class. The birthday dinner was expanded to include both of them, Dan recently had another birthday and Marcia’s is coming up shortly.

Rib-eye steaks on the grill, with asparagus, potato salad and a green salad. AL blew out his candle on the four sample pieces of calorie-laden delights.

Birthday Bonanza Dinner! Rib-eye steaks on the grill, with asparagus, potato salad and a green salad. Al blew out his candle on the four sample pieces of calorie-laden delights.

Twenty-two days in Vero for Kindred Spirit, but Al and I are only here for 12 of them. It’s time to begin the journey homeward, and we are very ready to move on again. This will be a first for us – traveling north by boat. Remember that in 2013-2014, we left our Morgan 43 sailboat in Stuart, FL where she acquired new owners. I made sure that didn’t happen again – this boat is going home with us!

One thought on “The North and South of It – Vero to PA, NY, and CT and Back Again

  1. We really enjoy your adventures. Thanks for an excellent travelogue.
    You mentioned the Wirie. How is that working out for you, and do you have any tips? We are going to install one on our trawler in Baja next month.

    Enjoy your trip north. Looking forward to your next update.
    Steve and Susan
    m/v Pacific

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